Monday, February 8, 2016

My signature color is blue... apparently.

I was going to write a post that would feel like we were having a deep heart-to-heart.  But I'm still  brewing and chewing on a few things... and today isn't the day to write deeply because I'm sad about some kid dealings and I fear that would color my words.  Instead, I decided to complete the updated house tour page here on my blog header bar, with a few of the tweaks I worked on in January and while I was at it, I figured I'd make a post about it.  The tweaks aren't big things, especially for those of you who have been reading for a while.  (Welcome those of you who are new around here!)

Somehow small changes always feel like a big accomplishment to me.  Like a general house refresh.  (Sometimes that's the best place to start when we're feeling overwhelmed in life.  Just saying.)

Among all the small changes I worked on, here are a few favorites; I hand-lettered the word "gather" and framed it in the dining space.  I re-hung Tara's beloved sign above my TV and then hung my beloved oar (found at the Re-Store by my son, years ago for $3) above the sliding doors.  I wiped shelves and added in some plants (real and faux) for fresh life... and er..."life."  Ha!

I needed to purchase new plates to replace a lot of small sized broken ones, so I went with Ikea cheapies and that gave me an excuse to do some open shelf refreshing in the kitchen, which led to changing out my kitchen rug, and bringing back the huge snack and cereal jars that I used when the kiddos were toddlers.  I love using my old teacups for scoops.  (And a side note here about the broken plate situation... we'd had those plates for years and no incidents... my gangly children became tween/teenagers, and it's like I had to kid-proof the entire place again for all the broken items lately.  I hear this is very normal.)

I yanked the metal letters off my chalk door a while ago (They were getting knocked off alot and that drove me crazy and who needs that?) and then I refreshed it with a lighter gray chalk paint and some fun drawings along with our weekly calendar.  I changed out all the bedding coordiates with the master repaint (see previous posts) and added a quote to the giant living room chalkboard which also got a lighter colored repaint.  I am a word lover... there are words all over this house.  The quote I used is, "There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." -C.S. Lewis (One of the many topics I am still brewing and chewing on right now.) I spray painted things, put things in trays and cleaned like a mad-woman.

I deep cleaned the bathrooms, organized and re-stocked the pantry and linen closets, decided to collect wine corks in an old vase, and removed all the book covers in the bookcase on a whim one night because I needed a little more color back. (Don't worry, I kept them all, as I'll probably want them back on in the Fall again... just something about the soothing muted tones in our bookcases which is a focal point, helped me feel like the fall/holiday chaos was partially tamed.) I was ready for bright pops of color to help get me out of January blah's.  You know what I mean, don't you?

I used a Christmas gift card for a collection of blue-green-gray pottery, which brings me to this- Every time I go to buy something my kids say, "Oh get it in blue mom... that's your signature color."  Isn't that funny? And I suppose in a way, it is.  It feels like home to me. 

I moved the armchair into the guest room because it felt like too much furniture and I purchased a post-Christmas treat in the form of a little file-cabinet looking side table from Ikea.  The corner of our sectional needed a small table and when I spied it at Ikea, you should have seen me crossing all kinds of things off my list in order to squeeze that table into the budget.  It was awesome. 

Now the sad news.  You may notice there aren't any full frame shots like usual.  My big lens got ruined over Christmas break beyond repair and so I'm now saving up for a new one and using the only other lens I own... a 50mm.  Which don't get me wrong, I love... it's just hard to capture an entire room with it.  Hence detail shots and wonky angles!  We can all have a moment of silence for my lens.  It would have broken my heart if I hadn't been dealing with far more important heart breaking things like a daddy with Alzheimers.  Just saying.  Perspective.  

I hope to get Ava's black painted, glam bedroom photographed and blogged about by the end of the month, but she's still tweaking a few things in there.   

And now, in no particular order... here is the updated tour...


Well that's it for updating my house tour!  (You can see the completed tour here, on this page!) I have a long list of other things I want to blog about this month, so bear with me.  And as always, let me know if I missed a source or if you have an questions and I'll do my best to answer in comments!

Paint color- Pavestone by Sherwin Williams
Bedding-  sheets, Marshall's, Bedding- Ikea & fur and blue pillows, made by me
Tile chalk board, gift
Deer antlers- Fred Meyer
Curtains- Ikea
Wood heart- made by a friend
Armchair slipcover- Ikea (chair sourced locally, years ago)
Suitcases- vintage
Tray- Target
Lamp- Target
Great is Thy Faithfulness sign- made by me
Wire table- (actually a basket from Land of Nod) topped with a wood slab from Michaels

 Paint color- Rice Grain by Sherwin Williams on top and Creamy on bead board
Shoe Cabinet- Ikea
Shelf cubbies- Amazon
Baskets & whale- Marshalls
Marshmallow sign- gift from a friend

Cabinet, trim and door colors- Creamy by Sherwin Williams
Island color- Light French Gray (200% tint) by Sherwin Williams
Wall color- Rice Grain by Sherwin Williams
Granite counters- Kashmir White
Flooring- Pergo pear wood laminate
Kitchen stools- Target
Dining table- Sourced locally
Kitchen lighting- Destination lighting
Dining lighting- Lowes/spray painted
Wood "B" by Mary of Urban Farmgirl
Family Desk- Ballard Design
Espresso Machine- DeLonghi (LOVE it.)
Mail & Key buckets- Ikea/ Decal's from Leen the Graphics Queen 

Paint color- Rice Grain by Sherwin Williams
Sectional- Ashely Furniture
Ottoman- Ikea
Bookshelves- Ikea
Chalkboard- Made by me
Blue Glass lamp & chrome swing arm sconces- Lowes
Pillows- Pottery barn & Ikea
Number 4-Hobby Lobby, painted white by me
Large canvases of my kids- Staples engineering prints mounted on canvases
Various baskets- Marshall's and Ikea
Fur Rug- Costco
As for me and my house sign-Tara at Between You and Me sign shop 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Mom Desk & Carving out your own peaceful spaces.

In my previous post, I shared the other half of this master bedroom repaint... Today, I wanted to show my new favorite nook in this space! 

I've been gently nudged away from using our dining room desk as my daily personal hub because there is a lot of studying going on there these days.  One day, I realized that I needed to do something about this, because being a mom of two busy teens, keeping track of work, calendars, planning, and household necessities, I needed a place for my own tablet, camera equipment and office supplies that wouldn't be in the way of anyone in the family.  I also thought a tucked away spot for dealing with those tasks might be a wise priority. (Of course, I also needed it to be cute!)

After doing some deep thinking, I relocated this tiny desk back into my Master bedroom, (it has been in this spot before, just not used for anything other than looking pretty) hoping I could make it work. My goal is almost always to adapt things I already own in the process, so as not to spend any money and in the end I only purchased a new lamp!

I carefully stocked my little Ballard Design desk, and it now holds every single thing I need and use on a regular basis, including craft items! (Which I admittedly, don't own a lot of.) It holds pens, pencils, tape, glue, ribbon, scissors, stamps, ink pads, calligraphy materials, and general office supplies like paperclips and post-its. (I showed inside a couple of the drawers in this post) Below, I stacked two sea grass boxes that I've owned for years.  I probably purchased them at TJ Maxx.  They hold camera supplies, chargers and cords, address books, envelopes, and other craft and art supplies.  I have a sturdy tote bag from LL Bean that is monogrammed "Mrs. B" and I use that when I'm transitioning from desk work, to car work, etc.  It often tucks under the desk along with my file tote, and anything that is a pending item gets tossed right into one of those bags, so they're ready to go, and always right where I can find them without becoming a clutter issue in the bedroom. (Because who wants extra clutter in your bedroom space, where you're meant to rest?!)

Above you can see it all closed up, and it looks nice and tidy.  (Okay so in truth... you know me... it always looks nice and tidy, even when it's not closed.  I can't help myself.) Ha!
 To recap on specifics;

My storage/organization needs & issues were:
1) Finding a hidden area and pleasing containers to store many desk & overflow supply items, yet keep them close at hand...while mostly using things I already had on hand.
2) Lighting needs in a dark-ish desk corner that didn't allow for a table lamp, etc.
3) Not wanting to spend a ton of money- if any- for any of this.
4) The challenge of using a small scale desk for; day/calendar/holiday/party/life/kid/school notes & planning, journaling, thank you note writing, grocery and menu planning, to name a few.
5) Making it pretty and able to close up completely as this spot is visible from part of the living room sofa.

1) Seagrass baskets, moveable totes and a folding chair
2) A wall-mounted plug in lamp
3) Hunting around the house, using things I already had on hand and reimagining items in this space
4) Being organized, organized, organized.  And getting rid of anything extra that I don't use regularly.
5) By using a fold-up desk, and a fold-up chair, this desk goes from high function to hidden in plain sight & pretty, in minutes. It's easy to tuck things away into a grab-and-go tote, which serves a dual function when I need to head out.  It keeps the desk looking tidy when in use, but it also keeps things at hand in one easy to grab spot so I can reach for it when I am heading out and know that it contains all of my current kid papers, mail, headphones, projects and other pending items.

**My lighting solution- I needed a slim lighting solution that didn't steal from any of the precious & minimal desktop real estate. After doing a ton of shopping research, I settled on this wall mounted (or clip-on) light that plugs in, from Ikea. It was under $20 and I installed it myself. One solution that I had to come up with once I had installed this light, was how to easily turn it on and off, since the cord switch hangs directly behind the artwork. In the end, I turned the light on, and simply decided to use the plug in to turn it off or on, by plugging it in or out.  Bonus- It highlights the pretty artwork (available from my Etsy pop-up shops when open) as well as making my desk functional at night. Win! 

**My "make it pretty" solution- I firmly believe in being surrounded by things that inspire and delight my senses when I'm working.  I placed a stack of my favorite novels & notebooks alongside a hard-to-kill air plant in a clean white pot, and book-ended the other side with a sentimentally special antique crock that was my grandmother's, and then my mother's.  I have a deliciously scented candle on the desk top and some matches are hidden away in a top drawer with an adhesive striker on the bottom of the candle.

**Bonus- Everything looks better on a tray, so I use this petite gray one from Ikea that I purchased last year, to corral all of my small supplies.  Because the desktop itself is diminutive, having all of my supplies on a tray makes for easy lifting if I need to spread out for a project. One thing I would add, is that you probably never need quite as much as you think you do.  The size of this desk limits my storage, but I'm not running a fortune 500 company from this spot so I really only need five paper clips in a dish, rather than a bowl of them.  I use pens all over, so I stock a lot of those.  I use scissors a ton for some reason so I keep those handy where I can see them.  I am constantly writing notes to myself, so it makes sense to keep those out... but I rarely use scotch tape or stamps or some of those other items that are hidden in drawers.  A great tip is to stop and actually evaluate how often and how much of an item you tend to use, and then plan your space accordingly. You'd be amazed at what you don't actually need to "have out" and visible at all times, which cuts down on clutter and makes not only your space more peaceful.. but also your heart.  And who doesn't need that?

The best part about this updated space, was that Adrain and the kids can take over the computer at night, and I'm in nobody's way.  Carving out spaces in your home that work well for you, and also serve specific purposes are key to having a home you love. (I do need to eventually find a more comfortable chair that works better here but for now, this is serving a purpose until I find just the right one I can afford.) Give me a shout if you have any questions that I didn't answer and I'll do my best to get back to you! 
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 (You can always follow along on this home tour series as I to post, as well as get the whole tour in one spot as I continue to update my Home Tour page, here.)

Desk- Ballard Design
Folding chair- Target? (not sure... it's very old) 
Bedroom Paint color- Revere Pewter
Mr. Darcy quote artwork- my shop
Clip Light, gray desk top tray- Ikea
Heart paper clip dish and birthday cake candle- Marshall's 
Pen cup- sourced locally at a boutique
Seagrass baskets- TJ Maxx, years ago?
File Tote- Amazon
Boat and Tote- LL Bean 
To Do notepad- Office Max


Monday, February 1, 2016

Master Bedroom, updated for 2016

It's the start of House Tour updating on my blog!  Welcome back those of you who have watched it change over the years, as well as those who are new to this little neck of the woods~  I'll be sharing the details of various rooms in my home in some upcoming posts, as I spent a lot of my January tweaking, painting, rearranging and rethinking many spaces/corners in our home!  As I share them here, I will also be adding and updating the images and sources on my home tour page, so be sure to watch as that begins to take shape again.  (You can find my Home Tour page, over here.)
Our home is a snug 1500 square foot, builder grade spec home, that we've been lovingly making our own over the past nearly 15 years.  We love this home and we use every square inch of our space as wisely as we can! (Though I'm still lobbying to get the treadmill moved into the guest space so I don't have to do my workouts in the garage, in the boys' space!)

This master bedroom is quite large, and we have future plans for a sweet little master bath renovation/expansion, that will take a chunk from the TV section.  It will involve knocking a small wall down, and slightly expanding the bathroom to make room for a soaker tub, some storage, french doors and a double stink vanity. It's a matter of time and finding enough loose change in the sofa cushions. (wink) For now, the space is used for tv watching, book reading and escaping  relaxing when the teenagers are too loud. 

The reason we decided to paint this room in the first place, was that we had a paint touch up issue about a year ago, (it used to be painted a gorgeous deep navy-gray) and have needed to repaint both ceiling and walls for some time.  I settled on a new color because if I'm going to have to do all that repainting, I need motivation of something new to enjoy.  I went from Benjamin Moore's dark and moody, "Stormy skies" to a soft and airy, "Revere Pewter."  It was a big change, and I must say that I love the way it all came together.  I did purchase a set of two large white euro pillows from Marshall's, but the rest of the items and bedding were re-purposed from around the house.  (The blue paisley bedding that I used to have in here from Ikea, got flipped over to the guest room, and actually that was a a great choice because the guest bed is a full size, and this is a queen.  The blue bedding was full and fits much better on the guest bed, and this bedding was all queen sized and fits much better in here.)

At Christmas, one of my very favorite presents, was a hand-written page of Psalm 23.  Ava wrote it out in her best cursive and I had to frame it, I loved it so dearly.  I hung it on the wall so that it's one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning... that and a gray glassy baby candle holder that my sweet husband brought me home from the Seattle airport as he returned from his business trip.  The man knows what I like!!



It feels like an entirely new space now.  Isn't it amazing what a new coat of paint and some reshuffling of accessories and such can do?  One important thing I did for myself in here, was carve out what I like to call the "mom desk" in a corner of this space. I'll be posting the details of that next, so stay tuned & thanks for stopping by!   

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Sources and Information:

Paint color: Revere Pewter (Benjamin Moore)
Side Tables- Sourced locally
White comforter, drapes, curtain rods, small bookshelf, gold alarm clock and side table lamps- Target
Fur Throw, sheets, bedskirt and euro pillows- Marshall's
Headboard- Made by me
Basket above bed, white swing arm lamp and seagrass poufs- Ikea
Feather pillow- Pottery Barn
Quilt and pillows on loveseat- Ballard Design
Light fixtures- Lowes
Love seat- Ashley furniture
Vintage cameras- collected locally
Black fluted coffee mugs- Anthropologie

Let me know if I forgot anything, or if you've got any questions and I'll try to get them answered by my next post.